Two wannabe crime bosses working in the film industry are having a silent war. Very silent. It’s not even clear if one of them is aware of it, but fortunately it’s not incredibly relevant to the film. On one side there’s the Senator (Eric Roberts), and on the other there’s the Master (Brad Light) and in between are an entire network of thugs and henchmen to carry out their bidding. I feel like this is already a little misleading though – perhaps giving you the impression that there is a lot of action and gun fights here to keep your interest. Not at all. The principal storyline revolves around the titular silver case – a briefcase that cannot be opened, but while no one knows what’s inside it, everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to possess it and find out.
This blind pursuit of the ominous case does create some interesting themes in the film. Hubris and greed, along with some fairly obvious parallels to the legend of Pandora’s box all create a very effective tone for the film. Plus, it’s a dark comedy, which automatically wins it points with me. Unfortunately there are many more problems with the film than good qualities. Yes, it’s a dark comedy, but much of the humor isn’t coming from a character-driven place. Instead, it relies on humorous banter, which is entertaining but never pushes the film to having something relevant to say. Also, there’s a fairly large number of useless characters in this. Even Eric Roberts’ character is barely necessary to the plot, and the Master isn’t menacing enough to be an effective villain. The only characters that make the film worth anyone’s time are Barabba (Brian Keith Gamble) and Caesar (Chris Facey); two business partners (possibly brothers), who stumble upon the case and have to put up with a lot of hassle over the course of the film because of it. These characters are definitely the best developed in the movie, and their scenes have a great energy that makes them fun to watch, rather than the chore of watching all of the other scenes.
I think my biggest problem with the film is that it largely feels like a rip-off of Pulp Fiction. Tonally, the films are very similar, with the exception of Pulp Fiction’s humor feeling much more organic to the characters. Imagine if Pulp Fiction was only about Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta retrieving the mysterious glowing briefcase and returning it to Ving Rhames, and none of the other storylines existed. Also, take out the stuff with Harvey Keitel. Then, imagine what might be in the Pulp Fiction briefcase and try to come up with something far less interesting. That’s basically what this film is.
I can’t comment on any special features that may appear on the DVD because I only received a burned copy of the film. Not only that, the picture quality on my copy was really awful; worse than standard DVD definition. It was very pixilated and distracting, and probably made it harder for me to enjoy what was going on in the film. Available now on DVD from Broken Glass Pictures.